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Article: Suzhou Dialect, Social Status, and Gender in Sancaifu, a Rediscovered Mid-Qing Chuanqi Play

TitleSuzhou Dialect, Social Status, and Gender in Sancaifu, a Rediscovered Mid-Qing Chuanqi Play
Authors
Issue Date2019
PublisherTaylor & Francis.
Citation
Chinoperl: Journal of Chinese Oral & Performing Literature, 2019, v. 38 How to Cite?
AbstractCommencing in the mid-Qing period the composition of literary works in authors’ local dialects emerged as a growing trend in the Jiangnan region. Studies to date have noted several examples of Wu dialect fiction and tanci, while kunqu plays are only known to continue in the classical language, apart from occasional items in Wu guanhua. The mid-Qing play Sancaifu (All goes well for three talented friends) kept in the Skachkov Collection, Russian State Library, is not recorded in any other library catalogues or bibliographies and is thus a rare example of a play rendered in Wu dialect (Suzhou variety). Spoken parts of the play employ Suzhou dialect of the time and include numerous local expressions and slang terms which would have made little sense to audiences or readers from elsewhere. The hand-written copy likely dates from the early nineteenth century, purchased by Skachkov in Beijing sometime before 1857, and thereafter remaining un-noticed in Russia. Knowledge of it in China disappeared except for a single mention in a Manchu prince’s reading notes. Sancaifu is a two-volume play consisting of 32 acts and over 46,000 Chinese characters. The play consists of several parallel storylines, mostly concerned with marriage fates. While the protagonists are predominantly men of letters, this play also features a large number of urban commoner women such as girls from struggling families, concubines, maids, nuns, elderly female beggars, midwives, and go-betweens. Unlike in other plays of the time, these characters are not mere targets of humor, but more often than not play a key role in the storyline. In line with the significant role of urban commoner women the play draws attention to social values that contradict the conservative neo-Confucianism advocated in plays from this era. Addressing these unique features, this paper will discuss the alignment of vernacular language and urban commoner women in Suzhou in this work and its significance for Chinese theatre history.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/277458

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorWu, C-
dc.date.accessioned2019-09-20T08:51:27Z-
dc.date.available2019-09-20T08:51:27Z-
dc.date.issued2019-
dc.identifier.citationChinoperl: Journal of Chinese Oral & Performing Literature, 2019, v. 38-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/277458-
dc.description.abstractCommencing in the mid-Qing period the composition of literary works in authors’ local dialects emerged as a growing trend in the Jiangnan region. Studies to date have noted several examples of Wu dialect fiction and tanci, while kunqu plays are only known to continue in the classical language, apart from occasional items in Wu guanhua. The mid-Qing play Sancaifu (All goes well for three talented friends) kept in the Skachkov Collection, Russian State Library, is not recorded in any other library catalogues or bibliographies and is thus a rare example of a play rendered in Wu dialect (Suzhou variety). Spoken parts of the play employ Suzhou dialect of the time and include numerous local expressions and slang terms which would have made little sense to audiences or readers from elsewhere. The hand-written copy likely dates from the early nineteenth century, purchased by Skachkov in Beijing sometime before 1857, and thereafter remaining un-noticed in Russia. Knowledge of it in China disappeared except for a single mention in a Manchu prince’s reading notes. Sancaifu is a two-volume play consisting of 32 acts and over 46,000 Chinese characters. The play consists of several parallel storylines, mostly concerned with marriage fates. While the protagonists are predominantly men of letters, this play also features a large number of urban commoner women such as girls from struggling families, concubines, maids, nuns, elderly female beggars, midwives, and go-betweens. Unlike in other plays of the time, these characters are not mere targets of humor, but more often than not play a key role in the storyline. In line with the significant role of urban commoner women the play draws attention to social values that contradict the conservative neo-Confucianism advocated in plays from this era. Addressing these unique features, this paper will discuss the alignment of vernacular language and urban commoner women in Suzhou in this work and its significance for Chinese theatre history.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherTaylor & Francis. -
dc.relation.ispartofChinoperl: Journal of Chinese Oral & Performing Literature-
dc.rightsAOM/Preprint Before Accepted: his article has been accepted for publication in [JOURNAL TITLE], published by Taylor & Francis. AOM/Preprint After Accepted: This is an [original manuscript / preprint] of an article published by Taylor & Francis in [JOURNAL TITLE] on [date of publication], available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/[Article DOI]. Accepted Manuscript (AM) i.e. Postprint This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in [JOURNAL TITLE] on [date of publication], available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/[Article DOI].-
dc.titleSuzhou Dialect, Social Status, and Gender in Sancaifu, a Rediscovered Mid-Qing Chuanqi Play-
dc.typeArticle-
dc.identifier.emailWu, C: wucuncun@hku.hk-
dc.identifier.authorityWu, C=rp01420-
dc.identifier.hkuros305968-
dc.identifier.volume38-

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